FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

BOE Member George Runner

Amazon Compromise Both Good and Bad

I’m glad the Governor signed compromise legislation today to help get some California affiliates back to work and bring thousands of Amazon.com distribution jobs to California. That’s very good news.

Unfortunately, this legislation is by no means a cure-all. It does nothing to solve the long-term problems created by the Legislature’s botched efforts to compel out-of-state retailers to serve as California’s tax collectors.

Absent a federal solution, which is highly unlikely in such a short time frame given all of the competing interests, we’ll be right back in the same mess in a year. The State of California will again be killing California jobs, driving away investment and inviting costly litigation.

Let me be clear: this compromise legislation, while welcome, provides only a short-term delay to a bad law that will never produce the revenues, nor the level-playing field, its proponents imagine.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Why I Support the Amazon Deal

AB 155, as proposed to be amended, will retroactively repeal the “Amazon Tax” for a year or longer, allowing time for impacted parties to seek a federal solution to the dispute.

This is far from a perfect plan, but politics is the art of compromise. It’s a good thing when competing interests are able to come together on a contentious issue.

The deal provides at least a one year reprieve for affiliate businesses whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the dispute. It allows time for impacted parties to seek a federal solution to this issue. Congress has always been the right venue for this conversation.

However, I’m disappointed that this deal provides no certainty for thousands of affiliates who partner with out-of-state online retailers other than Amazon. The uncertainty will discourage these companies from creating new jobs and investing in our state.

Furthermore, the Legislature refused to include a pathway to immediately bring Amazon jobs to California. I’ll be working with Amazon and legislators to find a way to expedite their presence in order to bring thousands of new jobs to our state as soon as possible.

Throughout the year… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Any Amazon Deal Must Be About Jobs

Media reports indicate that Amazon.com and legislative leaders have struck a deal to delay implementation of the “Amazon Tax” for at least a year.

I’m withholding judgment until I see the actual language of the deal. But I can say this much: any deal must be about California jobs.

Will this deal protect California’s remaining affiliate businesses? Will it bring back the businesses destroyed by the failed ‘Amazon Tax?’

Will it encourage new investment and job creation in our state by Amazon and other online retailers? Or will it continue to punish those out-of-state companies that dare to provide jobs and income for… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Democrats Fail to Thwart the Voice of the People

I’m pleased to report that Senate Republicans yesterday held firm against an attempt by Democrats to strip California voters of their right to hold a referendum on the “Amazon Tax.”

AB 155 would have cemented the failed policy of AB 28X into law, but the measure fell five votes short of the required 2/3rds vote. In his floor speech, Senator Sam Blakeslee rightly described the measure as “an attempt to thwart the voice of the people.”

Opponents of the “Amazon Tax” have already collected more than enough signatures to force a referendum vote next year. And as I recently warned the Governor and legislative leaders, the $200 million they are counting on in “Amazon Tax” budget revenue is certain not to materialize this fiscal year.

Even so, the Governor and Democrat leaders have spurned an offer by Amazon.com to collect the tax in two years and voluntarily bring thousands of jobs to California in exchange for a repeal of AB 28X.

Republicans must continue to… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

True Conservatives Won’t Squash the “Amazon Tax” Referendum

My good friend Rex Hime recently penned a column for the Flash Report citing several instances where conservatives in other states supported “e-fairness” legislation.

That’s an interesting debate for another day. The issue before us today is not about the “Amazon Tax” itself—that bill already passed the Legislature this summer with only one Republican vote.

The issue before us is whether or not Republican lawmakers should support Assembly Bill 155—a blatant attempt by Democrats to block California voters from holding a referendum on the “Amazon Tax.” By cementing this failed policy into law with a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature, California voters would be denied the opportunity to overturn the “Amazon Tax.”

AB 155 is a slap in the face to the nearly one million California voters who have already signed petitions calling for a referendum of the “Amazon Tax.”

The Democrats know California voters aren’t on their side on this issue. A recent… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Let the People Decide Amazon Tax

Democrat lawmakers are protesting a proposed referendum on California’s new “Amazon Tax” law. But keep in mind that this issue isn’t about Amazon. It’s about the thousands of California jobs the “Amazon Tax” places in jeopardy.

The lawmakers who authored the ‘Amazon Tax’ should be ashamed to appear in public. Their law has failed to achieve their goals. Instead it is punishing thousands of California small business affiliates who are losing income and may even be forced to leave the state.

The Legislature should admit its mistake and repeal the Amazon Tax. But short of that, the fastest way to save California jobs is through a referendum rather than years of costly litigation. Let the people engage in the debate and decide the issue for themselves.… Read More